UPCOMING 2023 OCHBS SPEAKERS
“I build organizations.” — Andrew DeAngelo is a visionary leader with a proven track record of enacting systemic social change and developing best practices in cannabis. Andrew lends his vast cannabis business and political expertise as a consultant for hire to the global cannabis community at large, including several strategic partnerships with the world’s leading cannabis-centric service firms. Over two decades as an activist, Andrew worked on a variety of voter initiatives which legalized medical and adult-use cannabis in San Francisco, Washington D.C, and the State of California. As a co-founder of Harborside, Andrew has pioneered legal cannabis business processes and provided groundbreaking political engagement and thought leadership to the cannabis community — leading the design and development of gold-standard cannabis retail by innovating many “firsts” for the industry. This includes: introducing CBD medicines to heal severely epileptic children, implementing the first lab-testing program in the history of cannabis dispensing, creating child-resistant packaging for edibles, standardizing inventory tracking, initiating senior outreach, and successfully preventing the federal government from seizing Harborside in forfeiture actions against the company in 2012. Andrew began his political career as an activist while studying for his MFA in acting at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He has starred in several films and runs an entertainment production company, DeAngelo Brothers Productions (DAB), with his brother Steve. Andrew is co-founder and Chairperson of the Board for the non-profit Last Prisoner Project (LPP) and a founding Board of Directors member of the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) where he served from 2013 to 2020.
Ariane is the CEO of Harvest Grows, Harvest of Ohio, and Harvest Processing, companies with provisional large-scale medical, cannabis cultivation,dispensary and processing licenses, for operations in Ironton, suburban Dayton, Columbus and Athens, Ohio. Her plan is to create economic development opportunities that come with marijuana and its ability to change lives, transform economies and provide jobs for people who desperately need work.
Ariane loves the city of Cleveland and she’s been recognized by several organizations as a result of her efforts to play a role in improving programs, including diversity and inclusion efforts in various industries. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies at Cleveland State University and is also an alumni of Cuyahoga Community College. But her proudest accomplishment is being the mother of two sons, Ali and Kristopher. She is the proud wife of Danny Couch, and stepmother of Camille and Jazmine.
While the journey is far from complete, Ariane focuses on keeping things in perspective. She’s learned that a sense of humor helps, whether she’s focusing on commercial construction: a complex world of critical schedules, firm budgets, dozens of disciplines and countless personalities; or volunteering in the community; or exploring a new industry. Ariane is adept at working with people at all levels and from diverse backgrounds. So far, she’s learned that business development boils down to passion and persistence.
Ed Rosenthal is a leading cannabis horticulture expert, educator, and activist. As the author of over a dozen books on marijuana cultivation and social policy, his books and Ask Ed ® column in High Times educated marijuana farmers worldwide. Ed’s arrest and highly publicized trials in the early 2000s shifted public opinion in favor of legalization motivating voters throughout the USA. Ed is the founder Quick Trading Publishing, focused on continuously researching and publishing the most accurate, up to date cannabis education, His recently released “Cannabis Grower’s Handbook” is the definitive grower’s guide detailing new information that will help experienced commercial growers improve quality and increase yield.
“Ed holds the distinction of turning more people onto pot than Cheech and Chong.” – Tommy Chong
edrosenthal.com | @edrosenthal420
Rusty Wilenkin started Old Pal after beginning his career in media
lending, then spending 4+ years in the cannabis space. The concept was born out of a white
space that the team began to notice throughout the industry: there wasn’t a flower product
out there that was both affordable and beautifully designed. During that period, he co-founded Prism Farms and negotiated all seed funding and distribution
channels for the company. Rusty then built out the SoCal region for Flow Kana, doubling
their sales team in Southern California. He then mirrored that success at Kiva Sales and
Service, where he ran their flower and concentrate sales. Rusty began pursuing Old Pal
full-time in May 2018, and it’s quickly become one of the fastest-growing cannabis
companies in California, in addition to expanding to 7 additional states.
Candace is a proud Ohio native, born and raised in Spencerville, Ohio. Candace is a successful businesswoman and business owner who began her professional career by working her way through the ranks of the largest flooring manufacturer in the world. She became the first woman to attain the level of General Sales Manager. Later in her career, and at the request of her father, she became the Executive Vice President of the family’s polyurethane foam manufacturing business, a global supplier of high-quality foam products with facilities nationwide. Candace managed the company through many successful transitional years, ultimately leading the family through the profitable sale of their company assets. Following the sale of her family’s corporation, Candace served as President of an industrial real estate and farming firm.
In 2019, after having witnessed a close family friend endure cancer, yet attain a state of remission through the use of medical cannabis products, Candace sought and obtained a license for an Ohio-based cannabis processor and Innovative Healing Solutions (IHS) was formed. Candace joined the medical cannabis industry to make a difference in the lives of Ohioans and offer them a natural alternative in their choice of how to heal. Remaining true to her small-town roots and values, Candace’s desire to “give back” may be seen through the patient-focused processes and products that are the heart of the IHS lab. Her unequivocal focus on ethical business practices, utilization of local suppliers and services, and doing things the “right way” set the path for the IHS team to produce some of the purest and most effective medical-grade cannabis products within the State.
Tremaine S. Wright is a former member of the New York State Assembly who thereafter, served as the first Director of the DFS Statewide Office of Financial Inclusion and Empowerment. Ms. Wright is an attorney, entrepreneur, and activist who is a second-generation Bedford Stuyvesant resident invested in preserving the rich legacy of her community and building a strong foundation for the future. She has dedicated her career to empowering and creating opportunities for her neighbors and her community.
Erin Gore is the founder and CEO of Garden Society, a California-based, cannabis-focused benefit corporation serving women in search of new, more holistic ways to rejuvenate from the rigors of their daily lives. Garden Society offers high-quality, low-dose artisanal confections and sun-grown pre-rolls that connect biodynamic farming, sustainable ingredients, and strain-specific cannabis.
An active member of the Northern California cannabis community, Erin frequently speaks on topics of cannabis and entrepreneurship. She’s a fearless advocate for women-owned cannabis businesses, and equally dedicated to breaking the stigma around the plant. Earning a degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Erin is also fluent in the science-based language of cannabis and production.
Prior to Garden Society, Erin worked with her husband on their joint venture with Constellation Brands (Tom Gore Vineyards), and had a decade-long corporate career at Henkel, where she managed a global business valued at $100 million.
Currently, she serves on the Board of the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County, Healdsburg District Hospital Board of Directors, and International Cannabis Farmers Association. She is a member of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance and belongs to the Circular Board, a collaborative accelerator for women entrepreneurs.
Fadi Boumitri serves as CEO of Ascension BioMedical, a medical cannabis company licensed to cultivate in the State of Ohio and operating under the Ascension brand. He also serves as Chief Investment Officer for Legacy Wealth Holdings, a real estate syndication firm with holdings across 13 states and is part owner of Legacy Wealth Education, an education and events company that focuses on the growth of entrepreneurs in all facets of their lives, including business, personal, and mindset. He received his undergraduate degree from John Carroll University, and his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. He practiced law in Ohio and at the federal level for 12 years before turning his focus to his other business ventures.
Born to a military family, Demetrius (affectionately known as “Dee”) spent most of his childhood moving from one Air Force base to another. He developed a captivation for science early on, especially the natural sciences, and developed his passion and fascination with cannabis during his high school years.
Dee spent some time as a welder before spending 10 years in veterinary medicine as a technician. In the Spring of 2021, Dee decided to start a new career in the cannabis industry, and he joined the Ascension team. He quickly rose from a Cultivation Technician to his current position of Cultivation Manager, where he proudly combines his extensive, worldly knowledge, his love for continuous learning, and his passion for cannabis in order to provide the best quality cannabis products to the patients of Ohio.
When not in the cultivation facility, Dee can be found enjoying Ohio’s many natural resources: he chases steelhead up and down the many Lake Erie tributaries from fall through early spring, and enjoys hiking, foraging, and golfing with friends and familyduring the warmer months.
As the director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, Karen O’Keefe manages grassroots and direct lobbying efforts in state legislatures for the nation’s largest cannabis policy reform organization.
Karen is an attorney who has been with MPP since 2003 and is perhaps the foremost expert on state cannabis policies. Working closely with local advocates and lawmakers, her team played a leading role in the advocacy campaigns that resulted in the first two legalization laws to pass through state legislatures, in Vermont and Illinois. Her team has also played central roles in Connecticut’s and Maryland’s successful legalization efforts and the lobbying campaigns that resulted in more than a dozen medical marijuana and decriminalization laws.
Chef Jeremy Cooper (CJC) stands as a distinguished figure in the culinary and cannabis industries, recognized for his exceptional expertise in crafting gourmet edibles, alternative botanicals, and pioneering culinary experiences. With an illustrious career spanning diverse domains, CJC has consistently demonstrated his commitment to innovation, education, and transformative impact.
As a prominent figure in the cannabis sector, CJC possesses a remarkable ability to catalyze startup ventures, offering invaluable guidance to companies seeking to thrive in the edibles cannabis landscape. His multifaceted role extends to manufacturing and production, where he serves as a catalyst for industry advancement.
Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavors, CJC’s true passion lies in enlightening individuals about the intricacies of the Cannabis Industry, as well as our global cannabis history. He has imparted his extensive knowledge through immersive educational cannabis cooking classes, world-class events, and the establishment of cannabis cafes across international locations.
CJC’s culinary artistry has graced the plates of numerous celebrities, both on local and national TV platforms. He has orchestrated private dining experiences that command a substantial fee, a testament to his culinary mastery. His prowess encompasses an array of culinary dimensions, including gourmet edibles and farm-to-fork cuisine.
At the forefront of cutting-edge flavor profiling, CJC has emerged as a pioneer in subcritical and experimental engineering, with a specialized focus on terpene tuning. His trailblazing work has elevated the culinary potential of cannabis-infused dishes, transcending traditional boundaries.
With an exceptional track record, CJC has held pivotal roles, including his tenure as the Executive Director and West Coast Director of Operations for Magical Butter. Notably, he conceptualized and materialized the world’s First Cannabis Food Truck, garnering attention for his inventive spirit and strategic vision.
A paragon of versatility, CJC’s ingenuity extends beyond the culinary domain. He has pioneered the development of electric bikes, crafting prototypes that have found utility in essential services such as Fire Departments, Police Departments, and Search & Rescue Services. His contributions have been recognized globally, attesting to his prowess in innovation and design.
Remarkably, CJC’s journey has intersected with healthcare innovation. Diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer, he harnessed his profound understanding of molecular gastronomy, botanical medicine, and food science to construct a personalized treatment regimen. His triumph over cancer is a testament to his resilience and expertise.
CJC’s commitment to societal well-being is evident through his engagement with the medical marijuana sector. His selfless dedication to educating patients, especially those grappling with cancer, underscores his altruistic nature and determination to make a tangible difference.
Undeniably forward-thinking, CJC envisions the future of cannabis inextricably linked to space exploration. With a visionary goal to harness cannabis, polymer science, textiles, and CO2 scrubbing technology for interstellar endeavors, his ambition transcends the boundaries of the Earth.
In the midst of unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, CJC once again demonstrated his leadership by spearheading the creation of a state-of-the-art extraction-to-sale product line that adhered to rigorous health and safety protocols. This achievement exemplifies his resilience and dedication to excellence.
Looking ahead, CJC’s commitment to education finds manifestation in his upcoming endeavor: a pioneering Cannabis Museum and Educational Facility in Oklahoma’s iconic country music hall of fame. This initiative underscores his dedication to fostering understanding and enlightenment in the cannabis realm.
In sum, Chef Jeremy Cooper embodies a visionary, an innovator, a culinary virtuoso, and a healthcare advocate. His diverse accomplishments mirror a life dedicated to pushing boundaries, inspiring others, and leaving an indelible imprint on the worlds of cannabis, cuisine, and beyond.
Becky is an experienced print and packaging consultant with a demonstrated history (3 decades) working with various materials, including Corrugated, Folding Carton, Retail Displays, Rigid Box, Labels, Pouches, and so much more. Her passion is helping her clients elevate and enhance their products through creative and cost-conscious design.
Andrew Tilmann is a seasoned Chemical Engineer with 6 years of experience in the recycled paper and medical marijuana industries. His expertise lies in large capital projects and greenfield start-ups, with a focus on sustainability, scalability, and innovation.
From 2017 to 2020, Andrew began his career in the recycled paper industry, where he oversaw several large-scale projects from inception to completion while on a brand-new paper mill construction project. His work in this industry focused on designing and implementing sustainable and efficient manufacturing processes that minimized waste, reduced environmental impact, improved process efficiency, optimized scale, and profitability.
In 2020, Andrew decided to pivot his career and joined the medical marijuana field, where he saw an opportunity to apply his expertise in process development and optimization to this rapidly growing industry. Holding the position of Lab Director, led the start-up of a medical marijuana processor, Innovative Healing Solutions (IHS). As the Lab Director, he has been instrumental in building the company’s operations from the ground up. Andrew has been responsible for developing and implementing processes that ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, while overseeing all aspects of the operation, from research and development to manufacturing, quality control, and distribution.
Andrew holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Western Michigan University with a focus in Biochemical Engineering and is an active member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
Hailing from sunny Southern California, Lighthouse’s in-house Lab Director and Master Extractor Alex Sandorf has extensive expertise in product formulation, production, post-processing, and cultivation, with over fourteen years of experience in the industry. Over his career, Alex has operated multiple vertically integrated facilities and has produced products for some of the largest brands within the industry.
Alex’s extraction practices are focused on hydrocarbon extraction, as it produces the highest grades of extracts for purity and terpene content. He can craft any type of product from cannabis, including isolates, live extracts, diamonds, high terpene full spectrum extracts (HTFSE), and a variety of formulated products.
Bonnie Rabin is a skilled college professor with a history of working in the medical marijuana industry, social work and education. She loves curriculum design, instruction, student mentoring, strategic planning, management, and leadership. Her professional education includes a BA in Sociology from Indiana University, plus a Master of Social Work from Boston University (Planning, Management and Community Organizing) and her Budtender Certification from Hempstaff.
In 2021 she joined the University of Cincinnati Cannabis Studies Certificate Program. Each semester she enlightens 50 students (and many of her colleagues!) from colleges and departments all across the university. Teaching the Introduction to Hemp & Medical Cannabis course is one of her greatest joys, privileges, responsibilities and challenges. Her mottos are “The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” (Alex K Trenfor) and “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
In 2019, this homegrown Ohio native organized Medical Marijuana Meetups throughout our State. She created unique events bringing together medical marijuana patients, physicians, businesses, caregivers, dispensaries, processors, retailers, brands, activists, educators, students, supporters, journalists, community leaders and more. Their purpose is to communicate, collaborate, network, educate and build friendships and business relationships among the like-minded. With over 1200 members across Ohio, the medical marijuana meetup community is growing fast!
Reggie Harris co-founded House of Kush to offer cultivators consulting services to grow House of Kush strains. The company also helps market strains for clients that include entrepreneurs with backgrounds in sports and entertainment.
Harris started the Kansas City-based company two years ago because he wanted to help play a role in changing the narrative of the cannabis industry and bring quality legacy genetics to the mainstream legal market. Still, years of working in professional sports and entertainment taught him that it is simply not enough to have great genetics. It’s important to build a strong brand and story around products. House of Kush has combined sports and cannabis in a way that opens the door to a conversation that breaks down the stigma of cannabis use.
He started his career in accounting in the entrepreneurial consulting groups of Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, before transitioning to the sports and entertainment field more than 20 years ago. Reggie launched three different professional sports franchises, and assumed the role of general manager of the Kansas City Brigade in the expansion years of the Arena Football League.
He has had the opportunity to work with several personalities, assisting them in building their brands and businesses off the field. Clients include multiple Super Bowl champions, Pro Bowl NFL players and NFL Hall of Fame inductees. His success comes from leveraging his financial background to assist in attracting start-up funds while protecting the investor value of organizations.
The CBD and cannabis industries are experiencing significant entrepreneurial growth, and there’s a need to find creative ways to build brands with loyal followings. Reggie founded House of Kush to assist in doing just that for brands such as the award-winning SVF OG Kush legacy strain.
Reggie has been featured by High Times, Leafly, Benzinga, KC Business Journal and most recently on the cover of MJ Biz Magazine in March 2023.
Christine DeJesus is Director of Cultivation and General Manager of Galenas – a tier two Certified Kind cannabis grower with operations in Ohio and Michigan.
Christine designed the organic production methods for over 40,000 cannabis plants and is in her fifth year with the company. Before entering cannabis agriculture, she ran a farm for Great Lakes Brewing Company, wrote the horticulture curriculum for the Cleveland School of Cannabis, and co-founded the non-profit organization, The Midwest CannaWomen.
She is a columnist for Cannabis Business Times, and spent many years in cannabis and environmental activism, most notably with the Marijuana Policy Project. She is a graduate of Kent State University and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Geoff has been an advocate for patient rights in Ohio for more than a decade. As an attorney, he wrote some of the first language that was submitted to the Ohio attorney general to create a medical marijuana regulatory structure in the state. Geoff is broadly experienced and previously served as the president of a manufacturing business in Ohio. He brings a host of professional experience including operations management, quality control, sales and marketing, regulatory compliance, and product development. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Syracuse University’s College of Law.
Chad Fuller is an accomplished Professional Chef, currently working in the medical cannabis field, as the Executive Edibles Chef for Klutch Cannabis. Klutch Cannabis was founded in 2020 and they have Partnered with Kiva Confections out of California, producing the Kiva line of edibles. The working partnership between Klutch and Kiva provide an amazing opportunity for Chad and his team to craft the best chocolate bars, pectin gummies, gelatin gummies, mints and chocolate covered bites in the Ohio medical cannabis program.
While Chad’s daily focus is primarily on production goals, infusion formulations, ingredient procurement, and research and development of new products, his main goal is to ensure his team is creating the best edibles in the market, using the highest quality cannabis extracts produced by Klutch.
Chad holds an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts from Pennsylvania Culinary Institute as well as certifications in CPR/First Aid, OSHA Safety as well as Serve Safe. He has been trained by Kiva confections and continually produces the highest quality Kiva products, such as setting the “Gold Standard” for all Kiva partners producing the Lost Farm Live Resin gummy line. The long hours and dedication from Chad’s kitchen team have allowed Klutch to gain a large market share of the edibles sold in Ohio. He does not sacrifice quality at any step of the process and ensures his team does the same.
Over twenty years of experience in the food service industry running all food outlets in hotels, running free-standing restaurants, and running his own bar and grill; prepared him for the Cannabis kitchen profession. He takes knowledge and experience from all his traditional kitchen cooking techniques and applies them to cannabis. He shares all his experiences and knowledge with his crew to further develop them professionally, ensuring continuity of production over time and the professional development of his team.
Cooking with cannabis has been a lifelong dream for Chad and he has enjoyed seeing that dream become a reality with the love and support of his wife Jill and their two daughters Juliana and Angelina. When he is not working, he can still be found most days dabbling with some R&D in his own kitchen, spending time with his family or enjoying amazing food and drinks at the many great restaurants in the area.
Chad has a true passion for the cannabis plant and the cannabis industry. He loves to collaborate and share knowledge and invites you to connect on his social media.
LinkedIn – Chad Fuller
Instagram – Chadfuller76
Facebook – Chad Fuller
I’m Kari Jager, and my journey through the culinary and cannabis industries has been nothing short of incredible. Growing up in rural Illinois, my passion for food and cooking was ignited at an early age. Determined to pursue my dreams, I enrolled in culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago, where I immersed myself in the captivating world of molecular gastronomy working in the Fulton Market District. I absolutely loved the combination of art and cooking to captivate all 5 senses.
Along my path, I discovered the immense potential of the cannabis industry and the opportunity it presented to positively impact people’s lives. For over seven years, I have been fully dedicated to developing and manufacturing exceptional infused products tailored to the needs of medical cannabis patients in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
At present, I am the proud founder and CEO of Cleveland Innovative Infusion, a thriving consulting company. Through this venture, I have had the privilege of collaborating with remarkable businesses across Ohio, Illinois, and South Dakota just in this last year. Together, we have brought to life a wide array of innovative cannabis products, constantly pushing boundaries and transforming ideas into reality.
I have also embarked on an entrepreneurial journey with the launch of my own hemp CPG brand called Quiesco. Derived from the Latin term meaning “I rest,” Quiesco offers a delightful range of vegan-friendly and organic gummies. Crafted with care and infused with a meticulously curated blend of minor cannabinoids, these gummies are specifically designed to enhance the quality of sleep. It brings me great joy to provide a natural solution for individuals seeking a peaceful night’s rest.
Throughout my career, I have played a pivotal role in expanding market presence, notably in states such as Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, Illinois, and New York. From formulating top-notch recipes to crafting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), overseeing production management, and curating comprehensive equipment lists, I have ensured the efficient manufacturing of gummies, chocolates, taffy, hard candies, and baked goods under The Botanist brand. By catering to the needs of medical cannabis patients, I strive to deliver exceptional products of the highest quality.”
Tom represents growing businesses at each stage of their development, and is regularly asked to serve as outside general counsel for his clients. In that role, Tom advises his clients with respect to innumerable legal issues, including regulatory compliance, corporate governance, contract negotiations, risk management, litigation and other day-to-day business issues. He often works with his clients to overcome short-term regulatory and financial uncertainty to achieve long-term success in developing markets.
As a result, Tom is one of the most sought after attorneys serving the Ohio and national cannabis industry, in which he represents licensed operators in medical and adult use markets, ancillary service providers, and companies operating in the hemp industry. He supports clients with everything from license acquisition, zoning and municipal law, to product labeling and packaging and regulatory compliance. Tom has also led some of the largest M&A deals in the Ohio cannabis market, representing both the selling license holders and acquiring entities.
His record of achievement as an expert in one of the most rapidly growing segments in the country has earned him considerable recognition, including the Crain’s Cleveland Business’ 2021 list of Forty Under 40. He has been named to Chambers USA: A Guide to Leading Lawyers in Business in the area of Cannabis Law, is one of the Top 7 Cannabis Attorneys in the U.S. (The Vape Report) and is on The Best Lawyers in America list in the area of Cannabis Law. He has also been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. As a result of his national reputation, Tom is an avid contributor to various local and national media outlets and often is asked to share his expertise by speaking at industry conferences and events.
Tom is also Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hemp Association, in which role he has been actively involved in helping regulators draft legislation covering hemp regulation in Ohio, and a former nominee for the State Senate. He knows how important it is to build consensus at the local and State level to further clients’ interests.
Kate Nelson was one of the founding members of the Ohio-based Greenleaf companies – Greenleaf Gardens, Greenleaf Therapeutics, Greenleaf Apothecaries – which operate a vertically integrated cannabis business in Ohio. After experiencing the benefits of the plant firsthand while caring for her grandmother battling cancer, Kate began advocating to increase access to medical cannabis in Ohio while studying at the University of Akron. These efforts played a role in Ohio’s legalization of medical cannabis in 2016.
In 2019, during her tenure with Greenleaf, Kate helped establish the state’s first legal cannabis dispensary in partnership under The Botanist retail brand. As the company grew, Kate’s role grew – initially starting as the first employee and lead in all aspects of licensing and facility buildout, and concluding as the President and COO. She has been instrumental in The Botanist’s rapid retail and product suite expansion across the Midwest and New England regions.
Kate currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the New England and Midwest regions for Acreage Holdings, which acquired the Greenleaf companies. She is currently responsible for overseeing operations in Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut, encompassing 16 retail locations and six cultivation and manufacturing facilities.
I am a highly ambitious person who cares about opportunities for not just myself but others as well. That’s why I am devoted to focusing the next several years to developing Vibesbnb / 420bnb as a company aimed at establishing social impact values that create industry-leading revenue partnerships.
I strive to affect real change as this journey of personal growth and entrepreneurship not only adds value to my team, but also helps make me the leader my team deserves. I am grateful for the people who believe in my mission.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I moved to Miami in 2012 to achieve a better future. I struggled with school, but ultimately realized the value of entrepreneurship with the release of Uber/Lyft/Airbnb around 2016 where the value of networking lead me to improve my surroundings in a six-year period.
My success as an African American entrepreneur has been a blessing. I’ve been a property manager and Airbnb Superhost for six years. After living with my guests I started developing a brand focused on cannabis users. I understood challenges of cannabis consumers who travel and too often don’t feel welcome at Airbnbs.
It inspired me to make a difference. People who see cannabis as their medicine – and others – should not have to feel uncomfortable just because they are traveling. Nor should they have to pay extra smoking fees. Part of our core values is that we want people to be able to book where they want without prejudice of being put into a box for being a cannabis consumer.
We assure our customers that their cannabis consumption will not cause extra smoking fines or cancellations related to bookings. We encourage communication between hosts and guests about cannabis culture and social vibes.
Education is crucial for the general public, which includes the hospitality industry as a whole. Cannabis tourism is going to continue to gain more ground.
I co-lead a community of 250 Airbnb Superhosts in the Miami Area, so
I’m grateful to get daily insight from a host’s perspective. Expanding on experiences in the hospitality industry provides value to hosts.
Now, after recent federal decriminalization efforts, I am optimistic and inspired to make Vibesbnb a go-to platform for cannabis users. Educating the general public is important for industry growth. As a multi-state tourism company, Vibes BNB is committed to being part of opportunities dedicated to educating the general public.
In 2013, Joe lost his father and uncle to the pharmaceutical industry at very young ages. Shortly thereafter, he discovered CBD through a CNN Special on TV describing children being helped with their seizures. Joe knew at this time his mission was to go help the world with this since he couldn’t help his family. That led to the country’s first education based CBD retail store to open in Columbus Ohio in 2016. Since then Joe has made a reputation for being the go-to for CBD and cannabinoid medicine. His passion and desire truly shows with each and every interaction.
Nikki Lawley is a cannabis patient advocate, speaker, and founder of Nikki and the Plant. She discovered medical cannabis after experiencing a life-changing brain injury while working as a pediatric nurse in October 2016.
Nikki is a leading voice in the community, chronicling her journey from a healthcare provider, to a patient, to an advocate. She hopes to bring worldwide awareness to invisible illness, disability, and how cannabis can help improve quality of life. She has been a guest on multiple podcasts and shows, including “Let’s Be Blunt with Montel Williams.” Find Nikki’s media appearances here.
Nikki is creating the first line of evidence-based, symptom-specific cannabis products made from proprietary blends of terpenes and other cannabinoids. Each blend is formulated based on patient data who use cannabis to treat pain, cognitive function, anxiety, and depression. She is seeking mutually beneficial partnerships to spread awareness and pursue the creation of her product line.
Steph Sherer is the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy. Sherer is the founder and President of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
Her direct experience with the medical benefits of cannabis and her political organizing background led Sherer to form ASA in 2002 with the purpose of building a strong movement to protect patients and their rights. Sherer is a powerful advocate, a skilled spokesperson, and an energetic initiator of campaigns. For over two decades, Sherer’s leadership has guided efforts with lawmakers across the country, to adopt and improve medical cannabis legislation and brought patients’ voices to Capitol Hill.
Sherer has trained over 100,000 individuals across the country on civic engagement, building a powerful grassroots movement for medical cannabis. Alongside the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacia, Sherer created the first medical cannabis standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, Manufacturing, Packaging, and Labeling.
Sherer’s work with ASA has moved public opinion and policy forward by incorporating strategies across many disciplines and bringing together patient advocates, policy experts, public health experts, attorneys, lobbyists, scientists, industry associations, and medical professionals to create the campaigns, projects, and programs that break down political, social, academic, and legal barriers across the US.
Erik Vaughan is a co-founder of Epiphany Mushroom – with previous roles as CFO of Cannasure, CEO of Standard Wellness, and Head of Macroeconomic Research at Cleveland Research Company. Erik completed an undergraduate degree in Finance & Decision Sciences at Miami University, earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is currently a member of the Planning Commission for the City of Hudson, and was formerly the treasurer of a local Rebuilding Together chapter. Erik is also a co-founder of both Epiphany Gardens Inc – a 501c3 providing community and home garden access for underserved populations, and The Hope Collective – a 501c4 dedicated to advocacy for communities and individuals most impacted by the War on Drugs.
Also known as the Mushroom Hunter – Don King is a chef, educator, forager, and wild food enthusiast – and currently serves as the Director of Mycology at Epiphany Mushroom. Don has led mushroom identification hikes in Northeast Ohio for nearly two decades, including for events sponsored by Holden Arboretum, the Wilderness Center, and the Cleveland Metroparks. He is a five-time winner of the Vegan Iron Chef, and has appeared over a dozen times on New Day Cleveland on Fox8, where he’s been invited to share recipes that include wild-foraged and store-bought mushrooms alike. Don has been certified as an Expert Mushroom Identifier by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Don also completed an undergraduate degree in Studio Art and a Master’s in Fine Arts & Sculpture, and spent fifteen years as a professor at Kent State University.
Nathan Rutz is Director of Soil at Rust Belt Riders Compost and Tilth Soil. He gets his hands dirty mixing, testing, and talking about soil. After discovering high levels of lead in his home garden on the east side of Cleveland 9 years ago, he devoted his time to learning the arts and sciences of composting and soil blending. On the quest to discover to make the best soil he can, he’s traveled across the country learning from leading scientists, composters, and growers. Nathan will talk your ear off whether it’s about nematodes, nitrogen, no-till, or net income.
Juliana Whitney, MBA, specializes in new venture creation and development and has been focused on the cannabis industry since 2015.
She started out as a patient coordinator at the first dispensary in Las Vegas, went on to start Cann Strategy a cannabis business strategy consulting firm, and since 2017 has consulted with cannabis companies across the U.S. on licensing and operations, and has composed high-scoring and winning competitive license applications in Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, and Mississippi.
Juliana, along with a co-founder, recently launched leafsheets.com which is a platform developed to simplify cannabis entrepreneurship and lower the barriers to entry and success by providing vital resources and information for starting and operating cannabis businesses — the things that the big shots have, but without the big shot price tag.
Minorities for Medical Marijuana is the largest community-based national nonprofit organization serving communities of color in the cannabis and hemp industries. She’s also the founder/CEO of Black Buddha Cannabis, a social impact brand that creates wellness products in partnership with cannabis operators in legalized states.
Sheri Tarr, JD is the Founder and Chief Advisor of ’68 Partners LLC, a global consulting firm dedicated to helping CBD, hemp, and cannabis brands, license applicants and licensees build sustainable businesses that have a transformative impact on consumers, patients, and the global economy. A former big pharma sales and marketing executive responsible for launching FDA regulated products worldwide, Sheri has over three decades of real world experience operating in highly regulated environments. After working for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, Sheri flipped the script and became an attorney who spent a distinguished career in the courtroom holding these same companies accountable for deceptive marketing, defective manufacturing, and other regulatory violations. She has witnessed firsthand the good, the bad, and the totally avoidable.
More inspired by helping companies avoid regulatory pitfalls and find successful commercial pathways, Sheri founded ’68 Partners LLC which specializes in business advisory, regulatory strategy, best compliance practices, license application consulting, and strategic partnering. ’68 Partners serves clients across the cannabis spectrum from CBD, hemp, and THC brands to legacy operators, retailers, processers, cultivators, and other industry stakeholders. Sheri’s guidance and insights have also been sought by law firms, financial advisory firms, legislators and regulators, investors, and an array of service providers.
A University of Michigan alum and Chicago Kent College of Law graduate, Sheri is a respected industry thought leader, speaker, and emcee. A long-time voting rights advocate and published photographer, Sheri also serves as a Board Advisor to cannabis companies, and is a Director and New York delegate for the Cannabis Advisory Group.
Jeremy Johnson is a digital marketing professional that has fully transitioned into the cannabis space after a wide range of projects from leading mobile and web development teams to managing tech installations for music festivals and large-scale events. Cannabis has always been a part of his journey, as a 2nd generation advocate and medical cardholder at an early age. From 2020 to 2022, Jeremy helped lead the e-commerce and digital strategies for two of Michigan’s highest-volume dispensaries. After a decade-long career in the digital world, Jeremy is now helping to educate cannabis retailers on how to use e-commerce tools to increase brand awareness, grow web traffic, and increase sales in the fastest-growing channel for the cannabis industry.
Greg Baughman is fast becoming a well-known and respected cannabis breeder, cultivator, processor, and innovator, He made the leap into the cannabis industry in 2014, relocating from Ohio to Michigan to become a medical cannabis caregiver and cultivator.
Since changing careers from music production – he previously spent 10 years as the CEO of Trump Tight Entertainment – he has cared for dozens of patients, aiding those with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and opiate use disorder.
Working closely with testing laboratories in Michigan, Greg has identified the unique profiles of his own cannabis genetics, allowing him to apply these attributes to his patient’s conditions accordingly. As the Co-creator of Cryo Cure, Greg uses his thorough and intricate plant knowledge to Cryo Cure’s globally patented process and his highly sought-after genetics. His cultivars and Cryo Cure technology can now be found in licensed facilities throughout the US and worldwide.
I’m currently involved with sales, some Metrc aspects, business development, distribution, and anything else the team needs. So far I’ve been blessed to experience many incredible pioneering moments in this Ohio medical cannabis industry. To be able to establish myself as a very involved, vocal advocate has been a hard-fought journey. That I’m still experiencing on a daily basis. Whether making appearances at different cannabis or hemp expos or workshops. From talking, teaching, and participating in online zooms, industry meetups, and discussions. Working to organize beneficial medical cannabis events that are more focused on the patients, their rights, and their needs. Not strictly about the financial gains that seem to be the main focus some aim for!
Mark Nye has been working in the public and private sector sides of the cannabis industry since 2015. He has participated in the creation and implementation of cannabis regulatory programs in multiple states at both the state and local level, and has consulted for several other state agencies tasked with the same. Beginning in 2015, Nye served as a Special Agent for the Clark County Nevada Department of Business License, where he was assigned to compliance, enforcement, and licensing duties for over 120 cannabis businesses in the Las Vegas metro area. In mid-2016, he was recruited by staff in then Governor John Kasich’s office to join the Ohio Department of Commerce as part of a small team that would build the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program in the wake of the passage of Ohio House Bill 523. The majority of his time at the Department of Commerce was spent as Director of Compliance for the MMCP, where he developed the state’s administrative codes governing the program, compliance protocols, and application and licensing procedures.
Nye is the current Vice President of Operational Compliance for multi-state cannabis operator Parallel, the parent company of Goodblend (PA & TX), New England Treatment Access (“NETA,” MA), and Surterra (FL). He leads a staff of over 30 cannabis professionals in furtherance of the company’s efforts to develop robust compliance, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, licensing & permitting, and environmental health & safety programs.
Nye received both his master’s degree in Environmental Science and bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from The Ohio State University.
Edward Fadel has practiced law at both the trial and appellate court levels throughout the State of Ohio, as well as the Federal District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. He is an experienced trial attorney, having personally tried nearly a hundred cases to verdict. Prior to entering private practice, Ed enjoyed a distinguished career as a prosecuting attorney for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. As an Assistant County Prosecutor for over eight years, Ed prosecuted some of the highest profile and complex matters in the County.
After leaving the prosecutor’s office, Ed joined a law firm where for four years he handled both criminal and civil cases. While there, he led numerous internal corporate investigations as well as successfully defended individuals against complex State and Federal Public Corruption charges. He also defended numerous individuals in a variety of State Court charges. Ed now operates his own firm and focuses his practice on criminal related matters.
Rob Mejia is a full-time Cannabis Teaching Specialist at Stockton University and President of Our Community Harvest: A Minority Owned Cannabis Education Company. At Stockton University he helped launch CHRIS -the Cannabis & Hemp Research Initiative at Stockton- as a hemp and non-medical research hub and cannabis education center.
His cannabis authorship includes The Essential Cannabis Book: A Field Guide for the Curious, The Essential Cannabis Journal: Personal Notes from the Field, and numerous articles including bi-monthly articles for NJ Cannabis Insider called “Prof Mejia’s Weed Corner.”
In recognition of his cannabis advocacy and education efforts, he is the recipient of the Inaugural Excellence in Cannabis Education Award for the state of New Jersey.
Michelle Simakis is editor-in-chief of Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. She joined GIE Media in 2012 and most recently served as editor of Garden Center magazine, the leading trade publication covering the independent garden retail market. Under her direction, Garden Center expanded its Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List by devoting an entire issue to telling the stories of the leaders and companies ranked on the list. She also helped to launch the Garden Center Executive Summit, the educational conference for key-decision makers in the industry, and recently developed a the only daily e-newsletter in the market. Simakis received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
Dr. Hemant Kumar Bid, Ph.D. MS. is a top educator in the cannabis field. As a Program Director of MSBT-MCT (Medical Cannabis Therapeutics) online education program, faculty member at both St. Louis University and the Cleveland School of Cannabis, Dr. Bid uses his extensive background in cannabinoid research to educate cannabis and medical professionals and infuse the industry with science-backed legitimacy. He has lectured nationally and internationally on how medical cannabis affects the body and how it is used to treat illnesses from a neuroscience perspective. Dr. Bid completed his doctorate degree in Medical Biochemistry and graduated from Ohio State University with an MS (Pharmacology) degree. He has 20 years of clinical and translational research experience in the field of drug discovery and health care management. Dr. Bid dedicates himself to cannabis education with specific focuses on the medicinal value of cannabis, augmenting endocannabinoid (ECS) health and motivating the industry forward with a research-based, integrative approach to cannabinoids. He advocates for the plant based on its unique status as both a preventative and a therapeutic medicine.
In addition to serve as a Program Director of MSBT-MCT (Medical Cannabis Therapeutics) online education program, teaching graduate students at St Louis university and CSC, Dr. Bid also serves as Director of Research for CP Labs, a cannabis testing laboratory in Columbus, Ohio. At CP, he conducts cannabinoid profiling, microbiological screening, pesticide screening, terpene analysis, residual solvent analysis and heavy metal testing to guarantee the quality, potency, and regulatory compliance of cannabis products in the state of Ohio. Dr Bid recently joined as an advisory board member for VAHA (The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives). Dr. Bid’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals more than 80 times over the course of his career. He also moderates cannabis forums on Clubhouse, a live audio platform with a thriving cannabis community.
As general counsel of a beer and wine wholesale distributor for nearly two decades, Harry handled all legal matters including, contracts, franchise agreements, labor negotiations, as well as state and federal licensing and compliance. For 19 years, as an attorney, he has assisted individuals with health care matters and special needs including representing clients at federal administrative hearings at the Social Security Administration.
Dave is a U.S. Army veteran, former assistant Ohio Attorney General, and currently an attorney at law practicing exclusively in the cannabis space since 2016. He is active in the cannabis industry as an instructor teaching medical marijuana law and regulations at the Cleveland School of Cannabis and as a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association. Dave’s article called “A History of United States Cannabis Law” will soon be published in the Journal of Law & Health.
Hope is the founder and CEO of A Dose of Hope and is a certified Intrinsic Coach®, crystal healer, reiki master, and aromatherapist. From Sandusky, Ohio, she spent the last six years serving the cannabis industry and has worked directly with customers and clients for over 25 years. Hope completed a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Kent State University, a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Amridge University and is passionate about helping people better their lives, unlock health, and live holistically. She spent years studying metaphysical sciences, energy medicine, and crystals before entering the cannabis world to educate people about plant medicine and use it to accelerate recovery, alleviate stress, and elevate lives.
Today, Hope uses A Dose of Hope to educate the public about cannabis use and create highly effective products. She fuses her knowledge, industry experience, and passion for a plant-based diet to craft premium quality cannabis products and make plant medicine more effective and fun.
A faith-powered single mother of four and a businesswoman, Hope follows her passion wholeheartedly and derives her motivation from her family. She lives to empower and admires people who stand firm amidst adversity, rock perseverance, and chase their dreams fearlessly.
No matter how heavy life gets, Hope finds divinity in all things. She is super-passionate about food, spiritual arts, and cosmetics and is on a mission to better the world, one person at a time.
Danielle Drummond has been a leader in advancing social impact agendas in the education, criminal justice, and community health space for over 15 years. A native Bostonian and Spelman College graduate, she has worked in community engagement and social equity at the state and local levels in the public and nonprofit sectors. Her career has allowed her to see how systemic barriers across institutions affect the quality of life for communities.
Danielle’s work is centered in the belief that to make real change we have to keep the voices of those communities that have been harmed by systemic oppression at the forefront. She believes in community-based solutions, supported by institutions.
Danielle is a skilled facilitator on topics such as restorative justice, anti-racism, and positive youth development, she is a reiki practitioner and someone who deeply believes in Bell Hook’s idea of the Beloved Community to transform society.
John Mackewich is a professor at the University of Toledo College of Law where he teaches Marijuana Law and Policy. He is also the founding member of Mackewich, PLLC, a full-service cannabis law firm. As a cannabis attorney, John has over ten years of experience representing cannabis clients throughout the United States. In addition, John is a licensed cannabis cultivator and processor in Michigan.
Samuel H. Porter III serves as a partner in Ice Miller’s Public Affairs Group and Ohio Government Law Group. He is an active member in the Firm’s cannabis practice as well as the gaming, sports betting and liquor law practice. His extensive background combines public service, government counsel and compliance issues, which allows him to provide multi-dimensional service to his clients.
Before joining Ice Miller, Sam was the regional director of compliance for Penn National Gaming, Inc. (“PNGI”) in Columbus. He oversaw all compliance operations for the Ohio Hollywood Casinos, Racinos and Racing to ensure adherence to all federal and state regulatory requirements, PNGI policies and compliance with responsible gaming. Sam also acted as the primary liaison to the Ohio Casino Control Commission, managed a team of seven compliance officers and worked with other PNGI compliance officers across the country to help implement, improve and streamline processes and procedures.
As executive director of the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, Sam managed all Commission operations, including supervising staff, providing counsel on all legal and policy matters involving liquor and gaming issues and managing a near $1 million budget. Sam worked with the General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and stakeholders to draft and adopt Commission administrative rules. In addition, he presented testimony before the Ohio House and Senate in support of the budget and maintained active communication with the General Assembly.
Sam served as assistant chief counsel to the Office of Governor John Kasich, providing legal counsel to the Governor and senior staff. He worked with the Governor’s legislative team and members of the General Assembly to draft and review legislation and administrative rules as well as all state agency chief counsels to manage and direct major litigation and policy matters. Sam was also responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on all clemency and death penalty decisions for the Governor.
Sam was an assistant prosecuting attorney for Franklin County before joining Governor Kasich’s office where he prosecuted adult felony cases in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, drafted indictments and presented felony cases to the Grand Jury. He prosecuted over 1,500 felony, misdemeanor, traffic and abuse, neglect and dependency cases in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court and served as a gang unit prosecutor.
In 2008, Sam earned his juris doctor from Capital University Law School. During law school, he served as a clerk for the Ohio Department of Public Safety Legal Services, a Columbus law firm and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Constitution Committee in Washington, D.C. Sam was the vice president of the Corporate & Business Law Association and participated in the Moot Court Sports Law Team. Prior to law school, Sam acted as legislative correspondent to Congresswoman Deborah Pryce and as a staff assistant at the United States Republican Conference.
Sam graduated from Wake Forest University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics with a minor in Spanish.
Samuel H. Porter III is admitted to practice law in the state of Ohio.
John H. Oberle is a partner in Ice Miller’s Public Affairs Group and Government Law Group in Ohio. He is chair of the Highly Regulated Industries Group and leads a core group of attorneys on matters related to cannabis, gaming, sports betting and liquor law. John has more than 28 years of experience as a regulatory attorney, public sector advocate and lobbyist to ensure clients’ interests are well represented regionally before state governmental agencies, city halls and the Ohio statehouse. He has built a reputation of being a strong and effective advocate for his clients. He is also a member of the Public Affairs and Gaming Group and Energy and Utilities Group.
John’s experience includes work as: a lobbyist and aide to Gov. George V. Voinovich; chief of Legislative Affairs for the Ohio’s chief regulatory department (Ohio Department of Commerce); Trustee for Sharon Township since 2006; principal of Ice Miller Whiteboard LLC; and attorney at Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Co.,LPA, now Ice Miller, for 16 years. This experience not only includes an understanding of the law, but includes how government and regulatory agencies develop policies that impact business. He zealously pursues client’s objectives in seeking a favorable result.
John has a proven and successful track record. His experience includes extensive work in the field of business regulation regarding gaming law, economic development, insurance and health care, utility, government procurement, liquor compliance and legislative drafting including helping:
- Drafting two constitutional amendments and work on implementing legislation/regulations on casino/video lottery terminal gaming
- Working on utility issues before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
- Writing laws for several regulated industries such as auctioneers, liquor, racing, solid waste, and other key regulated industries
- Negotiating and implementing some of the largest economic development projects in Ohio for banking operations and for aeronautical companies
- Drafting request for proposals (RFPs) and successfully protesting RFPs with state agencies
- Obtaining high-value procurement contracts which includes experience in privatizing governmental operations such as food service
In 1993, John received his Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University where he was vice president and chief justice of Interfraternity Counsel. He received his juris doctor from Capital University Law School in 2000, cum laude, while working full-time for the state of Ohio.
Nick Risden is a midwestern cannabis grower and breeder who currently operates Lyme Rising Farms in Michigan.
Nick and his wife Shannon moved to Michigan from their home-state of Kentucky, after Nick contracted multiple tick-borne diseases which have been life-threatening at many points. Nick uses regenerative-organic growing practices, including the centuries-old “hugelkultur” and other permaculture techniques, to produce high-quality varieties bred for success in the midwestern environment.
Nick has also been a successful security-dog trainer, with an esteemed line of German Shepherds, and has spent time in advocacy advancing cannabis reform.
“Bickett OG” is one of his best-known strains, which is now widespread in home and commercial production, and he has collaborated with many high-level growers and breeders across the country.
SōRSE Culinary Director and Chef Stacy Primack grew up in New England, where she developed an early fascination with food on a babysitting job. Not microwaving hot pockets, but watching the kids’ mother build gingerbread houses. “I’d watch her construct these delicate, but intricate houses. One year she let me pull up a stool and play around with the royal icing. That’s when I knew making food wasn’t just about eating, it was art.”
Following her passion, she trained at the top culinary school in the country, The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Additionally, Primack honed her skills in pastry at the French Pastry School and a chocolate course at Stéphane Tréand Pastry School. After graduation, she spent 15 years working for some of the most renowned chefs and hotels in the nation, including Emeril Lagasse, Roy Yamaguchi, Graham Elliot, the Ritz Carlton, and Giuseppe Tentori.
Primack entered the world of cannabis paired with cuisine upon working for SōRSE, a Seattle-based patented proprietary water-dispersible emulsion technology company. During her tenure of 6.5 years, she has served thousands of cannabis-infused dishes for groups such as Arcview, Have a Heart, Herbal Notes, NAFFS, Hall of Flowers, Down the Rabbit Hole, Cannavale, and Hoffwell Events. Primack was also selected to cater events at DOPE Magazine’s Dope Cup Awards Show in 2017, High Times, Lemonhaze, and with the Travel Joint during the Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, as well as many food events in London, Toronto, Mexico, and throughout the US. Additionally, Primack has curated three cannabis cookbooks for Pearl2o (a 1:1 cannabis cooking ingredient). Her recipes have been featured in Dope magazine and The Cannabis Cooking Magazine.
Stacy is also the owner and chef of Elevated Fork, a private event company that specializes in cannabis-infused cuisine http://www.elevatedfork.com/ hiatus from the 2020 pandemic.
“I’m elevating the perception of cannabis by providing guests with a safe and comfortable space,” she says, “where food is the star and cannabis enhances the experience. It’s time to regalize.”
Examples of her elevated cannabis-infused dishes include miso tahini avocado toast with shaved radish, sesame gomasio, and scallion, as well as yuzu shortbread which is on bars with coconut cremeux, dragonfruit, mango gel and basil oil. In November 2019, she received her Certificate of Completion in Culinary Cannabis by the Culinary Cannabis Association based in Toronto. In 2019, she was featured in NW Leaf Magazine and Kitchen Toke magazines. In 2020, Stacy makes a television debut for the Netflix series “Cooked with Cannabis” hosted by Kelis and Leather Storrs based on cannabis and cooking. She has interviewed with multiple podcasts, such as Weed Talks for Cannabis Wiki, Budtenders Club, Babes and Buds, and has done YouTube/ Instagram instructional cannabis baking videos.
Most recently, her formulated flavor Pacific Coast Blue Raspberry, a 100mg THC CPG beverage, Major took 1st place in the Oregon Growers Cup as well as 3rd place for Cannachef Seattle. She is currently the National Brand Manager for Major, a subsidiary of SōRSE. She educates consumers, budtenders, medical patients, and dispensaries across America about the importance of safe dosing, compliance, and how cannabis works specifically in beverage form. Major is available in five states.
Joel Fink has over 30 years of innovation in the chocolate industry. As founder of Fantasy Candies Chocolate Factory in 1990, he began developing a wide range of chocolate products; many of which revolved around healthy inclusions. In 2007, Joel took his research on the health benefits of dark chocolate to the Cleveland Clinic Wellness department where they teamed up to develop a line of chocolates created to meet their healthy eating guidelines. Joel soon began working with probiotics as an inclusion, which required him to develop a system to homogenize ingredients, while keeping the chocolate perfect in taste and texture.
After joining a research team in 2017 to develop a natural product for helping children with Autism, Joel discovered CBD’s had been used successfully in improving autistic behavior. He dedicated the next year to understanding CDB’s and how to work with them safely and effectively.
Joel, a member of IFT,(International Food Technologists) and RCI, (Retail Confectioners International) is a consultant to the medical marijuana industry in the state of Ohio. Working with a vertically integrated cannabis facility, he produced the first certified cannabis edible chocolate in the state. Joel started Chocolate Inclusion Solutions in 2018 to develop cannabis infused chocolates, sustainably grown, traceable and tested. He teaches a class called “CBD 101, Truth vs. Myth” to encourage public education in the area of cannabis.
Joshua studied Biochemistry and Sports Medicine at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. Bringing nearly a decade of supplement formulation and sales experience, he joined the OPB team and assisted with the company’s rebranding project while leading the organization’s contract manufacturing division.
Andrew Morris has experience in almost every aspect of the cannabis industry. He has worked in extracting, cultivation and production, and was part of the team that opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield, Ohio. He was nominated as one of the top 25 budtenders of the year by Green Entrepreneur magazine. Andrew works in the industry because he cares about others, and he knows cannabis heals. Andrew is passionate about, and dedicated to, patient education and advocacy.
Rich Wartel is the founder of Cannova, formed in January 2023 with three other established entrepreneurs in the healthcare and cannabis industries. Cannova will be the first software platform to unite patients, prescribers, dispensaries, and payers in a multi-functional environment including a product compendia database, e-prescribing tools, and a revolutionary reimbursement channel for medical cannabis. Cannova’s mission is to help further legitimize medical cannabis in healthcare through expanded access, knowledge, and outcomes data with the ultimate goal of obtaining insurance coverage for treatment.
Rich is also the founder and CEO of One Lab Innovations, LLC and is fully dedicated to innovation and helping the world through all of his life endeavors. One Lab Innovations, an “Entrepreneur Equity” company, is the culmination of his dream to create, enable and fund new ideas, focused on growth and have a positive impact on society. His legacy is broadening and changing the definition of healthcare and, ultimately, giving patients easier access to healthcare products and services.
Rich is the Founder and former CEO of Two Labs Pharma Services. Since 2003, Two Labs has led 200+ new product launches and hundreds of projects in market access, competitive intelligence, launch strategy, lifecycle management and patient services. In 2016, Rich and his team led the private equity recapitalization of Two Labs, enabling acquisitions and employee growth to over 175 team members. In 2020, Rich made the decision to step down as CEO and return to his entrepreneurial roots, just months before Two Labs was sold to Envision Pharma Group.
Rich has a B.S. in Business from Skidmore College and a Master’s Degree in Accounting from George Mason University. He resides in Ohio with his wife, two sons, daughter, and two dogs (one lab and one mutt). Rich and his wife are dedicated to improving the lives of others through charitable endeavors and created the Yellow Boulder Foundation (providing financial support to a variety of a nonprofit organizations). He is also on the Ohio Board of Directors for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, and is a dedicated member of Team Rubicon Disaster Response.
Michelle Blank embarked on a journey into Ohio’s Nascant Cannabis Industry back in 2017. With a deep rooted belief in the power of the plant and it’s theraputic benefits, she focused her strong, entrepreneurial spirit towards learning everything she possibly could about the newly emerging cannabis business market.
Initially navigating her way through the ancillary side of the business with Ohio’s first ever Cannabis Staffing Agency and then The Cleveland School of Cannabis, she was shortly therafter recruited by Curaleaf to assist with the opening of their Processing and Cultivation facilities in Johnstown, Ohio, ultimately becoming their Director of Sales & Marketing.
Michelle has dedicated years of educating herself on the intricies of the Cannabis Industry, including the legal landscape of navigating complex regulations, tackling branding and marketing challenges within a highly regulated industry and bringing new product and brand developments to market.
Currently, as part of Appalachian Pharm’s highly dedicated team of professionals, she now focuses her energy on introducing their Top-Tier Cannabis Strains to market from their newly constructed Cultivation Facility in Jackson, Ohio, to marketing and launching new and innovative products for Ohio patients. Appalachian Pharm and their brand partners stand out for their commitment to quality, consistency and customer satisfaction.
Beyond the business, Michelle dedicates herself to actively engaging with her local communities and helping to destigmatize cannabis by speaking on the healing and holistic benefits, as well as mentoring others seeking to find their place in Ohio’s Cannabis Industry.
Cat Packer is a leading expert on cannabis law and policy who envisions cannabis policy reform as both an opportunity and responsibility to promote harm reduction and advance equity and social justice. Currently, Packer serves as a Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence at the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Vice Chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, Director of Drug Markets and Legal Regulation at the Drug Policy Alliance, and is a contributing author to the Thomas Reuters Cannabis Law Deskbook.
Packer is recognized as the first person of color in the nation to lead a medical and adult-use cannabis regulatory program. From 2017 to 2022, Packer served as the first Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation where she led efforts to advise and implement cannabis business licensing and regulation in ‘the world’s largest cannabis market.’ Under her leadership, the City of Los Angeles licensed over 1200 cannabis businesses, collected over $320 million in cannabis tax revenue and became one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to establish programming designed to promote equitable ownership and employment opportunities in the cannabis industry.
Prior to her role as a regulator, Packer worked for the Drug Policy Alliance where she organized cannabis-related legislative and public affairs strategies and partnerships at the state and local level. Packer is a proud alumna of The Ohio State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in public policy and management, a Juris Doctor and was named the 2020 Recipient of the Moritz College of Law Outstanding Recent Alumna Award.
Cimone Casson is an Insurance Agent in the Cannabis Space and the owner of Cannas Capital an insurance agency that focuses on the protection needs of cannabis and crafting brewing businesses. Cannas Capital produces tailor-made insurance portfolios for legal marijuana and craft beverage businesses to operate with the same peace of mind as other companies despite their unique risk. Insurance helps solidify the businesses’ structure and mitigate risk. With Cannas Capital, companies can find broad insurance protection including employee benefits, delivery fleets and crop and inventory.
In addition, to being a successful entrepreneur, she serves on the board of several Social and Racial Equity organizations both local, national, and international. Cimone is the National Director of Social Economics for Minorities for Medical Marijuana, the largest minority marijuana trade group in the nation. She also sits on the National Cannabis Industry Association Board of Risk Management and Insurance, to lobby affordable protection for Cannabis Business. She is an ambassador Ghana’s Hemp Initiative, helping citizens create ancillary businesses in Accra, and lastly serves as the Chairwoman for Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (LARA’s MRA) Racial Equity Program’s Business Development Subcommittee, to create tangible pathways for social equity.
Cimone frequently speaks around the country on the importance of women and minorities venturing in the Green Rush via co-op crops, stocks, and other assets and its best practices.
Introducing David Mallie, the CEO of Aroma Country / Blaze Away based in Cleveland, Ohio. With his extensive expertise in odor elimination and custom scent creations, David has become a renowned figure in the scenting industry across North America.
At Aroma Country, they pride themselves on manufacturing a comprehensive range of diffuser oils that effortlessly transform any space into a beautiful and upscale environment. However, their true game changer is the Blaze Away odor and smoke eliminator. Trusted by esteemed companies such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Enterprise Rent-A-Car just to name a few. Blaze Away has become the go-to solution for eliminating unwanted hard-to-remove odors, permanently, not just covering them up.
If you’re interested in learning how to remove cannabis odors from any space, make sure to attend David’s workshop. Gain invaluable knowledge on consuming cannabis-related products undetected and discover the secrets behind effective odor elimination.
As an added bonus, the first 50 attendees that go to David’s workshop, will receive a complimentary Blaze Away odor elimination kit. This kit will equip you with the tools necessary to tackle any unwanted smells.
Don’t forget to stop by booth 512 during the expo to visit them and learn more about their innovative products and advanced odor elimination techniques. “We’re excited to showcase Aroma Country / Blaze Away’s expert knowledge and assist you in creating odor-free environments. Free samples at our booth too! See you there!”
LeeAnne is a co-owner of Lakefront Cargo, LLC, a third-party logistics and freight brokerage firm, and is currently an Executive Program student and Honorary Advocate at the Cleveland School of Cannabis. She is an enthusiastic advocate for cannabis and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences with others to help break the stigma and facilitate honest discussions about its many uses and benefits. Inc. Magazine recognized her logistics company on the Inc.5000 list as the #7 fastest-growing private company in the Midwest in 2021. It was also featured on the cover of Logistics Tech Outlook Magazine as one of the Top 10 Freight Management Solutions Providers in 2022. LeeAnne’s personal passions include gardening, painting, and petting every dog she can. She resides in Westlake, Ohio with her husband, two young daughters, and five family pets.
Shana was born in Manhattan, New York, and raised in the Bronx, NY, and Winston-Salem, NC. Shana found out early that leadership was in her destiny, coming from an entrepreneurial background within her family, where both grandfathers owned their businesses. Shana began her career in the music industry at The Inc Records (formerly Murder Inc. Records) in 2001. She worked as one of the Grammy-winning artists, Ja Rule Manager’s assistants. She left The Inc Records in 2004 and started her publicity and photography firm, Mac-Melius Agency, Inc., with now-husband Brett Melius.
The company has worked and represented politicians and celebrities such as Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr., Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, NYC City Council Members , Mayor Ras Baraka, Former NFL player Thomas Jones and Edgerrin James, Artist Lil Kim, Casanova, Do It All, Kevin Hart, DJ Clue, Meagan Good, Boxer Roy Jones, Jr., to name a few. Brett’s work has been featured in NY Times, Daily News, Boston Herald and numerous publications. Mac-Melius Agency co-founders have also co-authored historical legislation called Jaden’s Law and developed a historical cord blood program through their 501 (c)(3) organization called Preserve Our Legacy, Inc. She is also Co-Founder of Power & Music Awards, an African American Music Month awards show. Shana has a BA in African-American Studies/Anthropology from Temple University. She also has an MBA in Media Management and a Master’s in Health & Wellness Therapy. She is currently working in politics.
Brian “B-No” Adams is an emcee, producer, activist and instructor. He is the former Executive Director of Cleveland NORML (2013-2017), and founder of Sensible Cleveland; a not-for-profit ballot initiative PAC that led to the historic decriminalization of marijuana possession in the city of Cleveland, Ohio. Brian is also one of the founding instructors at the Cleveland School of Cannabis and currently the Director of Education at the Harrington Institute for Cannabis Education. Brian is college educated and married with two children. You can listen to him host and produce the bi-weekly podcast Blazed & Enthused.
Mary Jane Borden is a best-selling author, skilled graphic artist, and award-winning cannabis activist from Westerville, Ohio. She holds a BA from Otterbein University, an MBA from the University of Dayton, and the prestigious Accredited in Public Relations (APR) certification from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Her vast and diverse background includes nine years as a pharmaceutical industry analyst of cancer chemotherapy drugs and ten years of online media activism to promote sensible drug policies. During her 40-year career in drug policy, she co-founded seven cannabis-oriented groups, lobbied for six medical marijuana bills, co-authored four proposed amendments to the Ohio Constitution, penned 100+ Columbus Free Press “Mary Jane’s Guide” articles, and has given hundreds of media and podcast interviews. She is a Courage in Cannabis author in both editions. Her artwork can be viewed at CannabinArt.com and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela Harmon is the director of sales and marketing at
Franklin’s Stash House is a multicultural cannabis brand based in Kansas City, MO.
The company offers Franklin’s line of preroll THC blunts, high-terpene hemp wraps, and food and beverages in the THC space.
Franklin’s has been making a name for itself as one of the only independent and black-owned brands in the state of Missouri.
Earlier this year the company announced a partnership with Guy’s Snacks and the newest addition to their lineup, the Ridges Style THC-Infused Chips. With a legacy over 80 years, Guy’s Snacks latest creation is its first entry into the cannabis industry.
Harmon got into the cannabis industry following a pharmaceutical background after graduating with honors from St. Louis University’s inaugural program of cannabis business science and operations.
She initially started her cannabis career by selling hemp blunts to independent gas stations. Then she was hired to be an inventory manager at Feel State Dispensary, before becoming a general a few months later.
Harmon joined Franklin’s Stash House two years ago once the company was awarded a processing license. In less than 9 months the company was in 160 dispensaries, posting $2 million in sales.
Harmon enjoys being in sales and marketing and is passionate about supporting and encouraging women and minorities to be in the cannabis industry and go after leadership roles.
Michael Blogna is the Founder and CEO of Trusted Human Capital, an executive advisory firm dedicated to helping mission-led, impact-driven businesses and Family Offices across the globe. He is an advisor to several organizations including Digital Evolution Institute, NextGen Leader Group, Family Office Alpha and multiple start-ups in the health, tech & mental wellness space. Michael and his team partner with founders, executives, and advisory boards across multiple business sectors. He has a strong passion for making meaningful introductions through connection, communication, and lasting impact.
Vanessa Wilhelm has been in the hemp industry for almost six years as an educator, co-formulator of products, wholesaler, and co-founder of a company. Last year, she became a managing partner and local owner of a highly respected franchise CBD and Wellness store called Kerwell. She is passionate about educating her audience on the benefits of carefully curated hemp-derived CBD and THC products backed by science-based evidence. She is a mother of 3, wife to a former NFL athlete, and has been a leader in the organic product space for over a decade. She aligns with companies that hold strong core values of purity, integrity, customer relationships, and results. Vanessa is devoted to helping families achieve their optimum health by improving their mental and overall well-being by integrating adaptogens, clean and organic ingredients, cannabis, and natural therapies into their daily self-care and wellness routines.
For anyone who believes that passing adult-use laws fixes problems for patients, that medical cannabis use doesn’t get anyone in trouble, or that being a patient can’t cause problems for people, Katree Saunders is here to tell you differently.
Katree discovered more than a decade ago that cannabis helped control her chronic pain from accident-related injuries, enabling her to get off the opioid painkillers she’d taken since she was 15. At first, like many patients, she was accessing cannabis on the underground market through friends and acquaintances. But in 2008, she was sexually assaulted by a cannabis provider she had known for many years.
“After that, I went into a spiral of depression,” Katree says. “I didn’t feel safe anymore.”
Not long after, she happened across a listing for medical marijuana in a phone book and, after wondering if it was real, connected with a doctor who certified her for participation in the Nevada medical cannabis program. She got her card, but she still had no convenient means of legal access.
At the time, being a registered patient was the only protection against going to jail for possession of cannabis. It would be half a dozen years before Nevada licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to operate. When asked what she was supposed to do, she was referred to the Nevada State Department of Agriculture. The only way to obtain medical cannabis was to cultivate it yourself or find a caregiver who could.
“I wanted to help others because I knew what women faced on the streets,” she says. “A lot of time women need flower but don’t want to be put in the position I had experienced. I had to advocate for safe access.”
To learn more visit the Americans for Safe Access website and read Katree Saunder’s full bio.
Tim is a retired Law Enforcement Officer and a US Air Force Veteran. Tim presents with an educational background in Criminal Law, Police Sciences, and Business Management. As a Safety and Security Specialist, Tim founded Cannabis Safety First to provide services to the Ohio Medical Cannabis Program. Tim was an instrumental participant in the creation of the Ohio Medical Cannabis and Ohio Hemp Programs. Tim continues to work with state legislators and program regulators to secure patient protection rights, address criminal justice reform, and promote amendments for the betterment of the programs. Tim’s legislative services further cover drug policy reform, social justice reform, law enforcement reform, government relations, and bringing an Adult Choice Cannabis Program to Ohio. Tim remains active in the Ohio Medical Cannabis Program as a patient advocate, veteran advocate, and program advocate in his legislative endeavors. Tim also provides a state-accredited safety training program, business development consulting, risk management solutions, working with licensees, and consulting with various advocacy organizations around the state. In 2018 Tim created Safety First 101 to provide safety and security services to the Ohio hospitality industry. His services have helped implement a new landscape of risk management, safety and security protocols, and training programs for dealing with human trafficking and the opioid crisis as seen in the hotel and lodging industry.
Pam DeCosta is the CEO and Founder of Vetae Holdings a vertically integrated cannabis company in Oklahoma. A former D1 Basketball Coach, Pam has led the company since its creation in 2018. She brings the team building and leadership skills she developed while training elite athletes to Vetae, where she has instilled an ethos of competing to be the very best. In addition to overseeing Oklahoma operations, Pam also leads Vetae Pharms NJ where her responsibilities include setting the overall strategic vision of the company, driving wholesale penetration and nurturing the financial health of the company.
Under Pam’s leadership, Vetae Pharms has already gained substantial market share and an outstanding reputation in Oklahoma – one of America’s most competitive cannabis markets. She now plans to bring a similar vertically integrated business model to New Jersey, along with the company’s proprietary genetics and award-winning brand.
Dyan founded Genius in 2014 and since then he has been leading the company in its expansion from a single product to a popular lifestyle platform for hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. At the time when the cannabis industry as we know it today was in its infancy, Dyan started the company with a quite simple idea – to create a “No Bullshit” product, a product that totally and entirely centered on you – the User. Within the years that followed Dyan was in pursuit of unique ways to create and market unique Genius products. Multiple novel and patented accessories were added to the Genius Pipe, as well as the ability of personalizing this cannabis device with custom images and colors, making it completely yours. In 2023 Dyan was instrumental in launching Genius Dust – a unique collection of kief blends for Genius pipe users now available in California and soon in other states.
Erik C. Smith is currently the Managing Member of Inclusive Roots, LLC, with offices based in Florida, specializing in Cultural Competence, Community Relations, and Cross-cultural Marketing. Most recently Erik was the Cultural Competence and Inclusion Director at Valpak where he developed a cultural competency rubric to show how diversity, coupled with inclusion, creates opportunities for innovation, drives revenue, and enhances recruitment, retention, and professional development of employees and suppliers. Previously he was the Executive Director of The Jeff Johnson Institute for Urban Development whose focus was to train young urban professionals for leadership. Concurrently, he served as the COO of Jeff’s Nation, a consulting firm with offices in Maryland and Ohio whose specialty is media and message consulting. Moreover, he has consulted for numerous Fortune 100 advertising agencies, public relations firms and consumer product companies globally. He has over 25 years of experience as a corporate finance and marketing professional.
Before founding Carlton Consulting, LLC in Cleveland, Ohio, Erik led all marketing functions for 216 Entertainment and Recording, LLC, a small cutting-edge agency that specialized in ethnic marketing where he explained how popular culture trends originate in urban culture.
Lastly, Erik’s educational background consists of a Master’s in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University.
Lucas is the Founder and CEO of Spendr, the only technology platform that combines payments, rewards, and marketing for the cannabis industry. With backgrounds in cannabis and corporate banking & payments, Lucas saw the positive impact that fully integrated digital payments & marketing tools have on a business and their customer experience, and created Spendr to change how people purchase & experience cannabis. Spendr’s mission is to be a leading force in cannabis normalization, starting with delivering a convenient & rewarding purchasing experience, that makes cannabis buying safer, easier, and more “normal”.
Mike Ballard has been active in the cannabis and hemp industries for 10 years. Starting out marketing organic cultivation products as a side hustle, Mike soon jumped in feet first and since then has worked with100s of commercial growers and hydroponic stores all over the country. He and his teams have generated millions in sales of cannabis and hemp genetics – both clones and seeds. in 2021 he moved to Leafwire and Leafwire Media, overseeing advertising sales to a variety of ancillary service providers including packaging, payment processing, point-of-sale systems, etc.
Andrew Hamerly is the Website Developer at Allswell Agency, a dynamic hub for digital solutions tailored exclusively for Ohio’s cannabis and hemp enterprises. Andrew not only crafts websites but also ignites strategic online journeys for brands.
With a distinct focus on Ohio’s diverse cannabis and hemp landscape, Andrew serves as the Website Admin behind the online presences of eminent entities including the Ohio Cannabis Health & Business Summit, Ascension Biomedical, Organic Plus Brands, Plant Puff™, and Whole Plant™ CBD. His expertise extends beyond web development, as he curates digital journeys that cultivate engagement and drive proven results with cannabis lovers.
Ever committed to his craft, Andrew thrives on staying ahead of the curve. He consistently pursues advanced courses and learning opportunities to master the evolving dynamics of the cannabis industry, website development, precision copywriting, organic search optimization, and tech-savvy digital marketing strategies.
Born south of Cleveland, Andrew’s journey through academia has been equally diverse. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University, an associate’s degree in Supply Chain Management from Cuyahoga Community College, and a Cannabis Horticulture Certificate from The Cleveland School of Cannabis.
Allswell Agency stands as a testament to Andrew’s dedication to being an ancillary shepherd of the plant. Here, the fusion of cutting-edge expertise and genuine passion results in website and digital marketing solutions that not only meet but exceed client expectations. For those eager to harness the transformative power of owning your online cannabis marketing channels, Andrew invites you to connect on LinkedIn with the subject “OCHBS” or to explore AndrewHamerly.com.
Your success story awaits.